Commentary

A Tried-And-True Medium Migrates Online

Just like TV commercials, branded entertainment has also migrated online.  Such entertainment is nothing new, though -- it's simply the term given to long-form content, like TV shows, that advertisers sponsor or integrate their product into.

They are using the same tried and true tactics on the Internet, too. Just as advertisers use their proven offline technique -- the commercial -- on the Internet, whether in the form of an in-stream pre-roll or an in-page video banner, they are also sponsoring existing Web shows, cleverly incorporating their products into them, or they are creating their own unique shows altogether conceptualized to house their particular brand DNA within program narratives. Each type of sponsorship allows brands the opportunity to reward their audiences with rich and entertaining content, helping to create a connection between the brand and consumer.

Note the following examples:

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Toyota's current campaign, "The Sienna Family," is a comedic spin on a couple's view regarding parenting and their family life. The campaign is able to marry the brand's offline TV spots with a longer form webisodic content, resulting in a show similar to that of a stand-up comic's routine.

The US Air Force (USAF) created "To The Max," a program about young tinkerers and inventors   helping to show the USAF's fostering of smart technical minds.

Yahoo and Bertolli pasta teamed up to create "Into The Heart of Italy," a travel and cooking show following actress Marissa Tomei, chef Rocco DiSpirito and TV personality Dan Cortese through Italy, tasting the best food the country has to offer.

Kimberly Clark's Scott Natural's brand created and sponsored "Green Done Right" to closely tie the brand to the ever-popular green movement.

There are plenty of other examples of online branded entertainment available for discussion.  These are just several that have caught my eye or I've been involved with over the past year.

Now, these shows are being distributed on publisher destinations and on a decentralized basis to many sites, where said advertisers are essentially aggregating an audience rather than a brand (see my last piece here for more on this), and the subsequent results are, indeed, difficult to ignore.

Not only do branded entertainment campaigns result in roughly three times the interaction rates of traditional pre-roll spots, but, video view rates, as well as exposure time, are roughly double that of those shorter-form video units.  This means that audiences are spending more time interacting with programming that is designed specifically around a brand's particular initiatives, and they are doing so at a greater frequency.
  
The current trend is to move away from simply repurposing or jazzing up one's TV spot for the Internet. Now it's about intimately understanding the utility of the medium and moving to customize the online experience for the empowered consumer: the 21st century consumer who is too smart to be talked down to.  Rather, as with show sponsorship and integration offline, advertisers are giving this consumer a decidedly smarter and more useful brand affinity.

1 comment about "A Tried-And-True Medium Migrates Online".
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  1. Rob Tait from Silent Joe, May 7, 2010 at 3:11 p.m.

    I'd add one more to the recent list. It is Motherloadtv.com sponsored by a number of Johnson and Johnson brands. A very funny look at motherhood that works the brands into the story line in a very authentic manner.

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